Make AWS Green

A statement directed at potential AWS customers

Page - December 5, 2012
Amazon is responsible for storing and delivering the data behind a massive portion of the Internet via its Amazon Web Services (AWS) business, including Netflix, Pinterest, Spotify, and Smugmug.

Amazon won't say exactly how many servers it has keeping the Internet humming, but a recent study estimated that one third of all daily internet users will access an Amazon AWS cloud site on average at least once a day.  Powering a cloud of AWS's size requires a lot of energy, and recent events have demonstrated the need to ensure that the cloud's energy supply is both more secure and more sustainable. Too much of AWS's energy supply comes from coal and nuclear power plants, and as one can see  increasingly from Japan to New York City to Northern Virginia, these traditional energy sources are increasingly vulnerable to disruption.

What if AWS created a green cloud offering?

Greenpeace, who is campaigning for data center operators to clean the cloud, created this greenaws.com page initially as a hoax to suggest that Amazon was deciding to go green. Now the cat’s out of the bag, and sadly, “greening aws” is back to just being wishful thinking: AWS does not currently offer a cloud powered by renewable energy – even though other competitors provide a much greener cloud option.  Greenpeace estimates that AWS's data centers currently uses 57 percent dirty energy and only 14 percent clean energy. Google, Facebook and Rackspace are all using cleaner energy mixes and we're asking AWS to follow these companies' lead.   So far, Amazon has ignored the growing movement toward providing a cloud powered by renewable energy and unlike competitors Google, Microsoft and Rackspace, Amazon will not even tell its customers how much energy it is using or what its sources are.

Here is how AWS stacks up against other leading cloud companies:  

 

Energy Transparency?

Claimed Renewable Energy Commitment

Clean Energy Index

Dirty Energy %

AWS

No

None

14%

57%

Google

Yes

Carbon Neutral, $1B invested in renewable energy

40%

44%

Facebook

Yes

Renewable powered Facebook

38%

48%

Rackspace

Yes

Factors renewable energy in data center investments

32%

51%

Apple

Yes

100% renewable energy & coal-free iCloud

23%

45%

Microsoft

Yes

Carbon Neutral

22%

57%


For more information about the energy that AWS and other companies use to power the cloud, please read our April, 2012 report "How Clean is Your Cloud?" or contact us via direct message on Twitter @cleanourcloud or email 

More and more companies are committing to power their cloud with renewable energy.  It makes financial sense and is good for the planet.  Renewable energy can:

  • Offer greater stability than the conventional, fossil fuel powered electricity grid.
  • Offer mid-term and long-term price advantages and certainty over fossil fuels.
  • Allow you as a customer to better meet your own environmental standards.

AWS, like any prosperous business, listens to its customers' demands.  If you are interested in greener cloud options for your data, please contact your AWS representative and make your voice heard.